The Supreme Court has criticised the practice of courts pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment, saying it has to be “stopped and discouraged”.
A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna said: “Despite the strong observations made by this court as far as back in the year 1984 and thereafter repeatedly reiterated, still the practice of pronouncing only the operative portion of the judgment without a reasoned judgment and to pass a reasoned judgment subsequently has been continued.”
The bench, in its order pronounced on Tuesday, added” “Such a practice of pronouncing the final orders without a reasoned judgment has to be stopped and discouraged”. It noted that from the record of proceedings, it appears that the reasoned judgment was pronounced and uploaded after a period of almost five months.
The top court made these observations while hearing an appeal against the Allahabad High Court order, acquitting the accused in a murder case.
Counsel representing the original complainant and counsel for the state government pointed out that in the present case, the arguments on the appeals were concluded on March 30, 2019. It was submitted that the high court allowed the appeals on the very day and pronounced the operative portion of the order, setting aside the judgment and order of conviction passed by the trial court. It was contended that the high court directed the accused who was in jail to be released, but a reasoned judgment and order was only pronounced after a period of approximately five months.
The top court set aside the judgment and order passed by the high court without further entering into the merits of the case nor expressing anything on merits in favour of either party, and remanded the appeals to the high court to decide the same afresh in accordance with law and on its own merits.
“We request the High Court to finally decide and dispose of the appeals at the earliest and preferably within a period of six months from the date of the receipt of the present order,” it said.
The top court observed that during the pendency of the appeals before the high court, the accused need not surrender and they may be treated to have been released on bail and continued to be released on bail, however subject to the ultimate outcome of the appeals before the high court.
“If the conviction is sustained the accused shall surrender within a period of two weeks from the date of the pronouncement of the judgment,” it said.